I seem to be carving out a nice little niche of repairing still-useful devices. Most recently, a friend said they wanted to turn a lower end router into a fileserver- which makes sense, really. Long gone are the necessities of hot and power hungry hardware to stream, save, and share.

I’ve got a WNR3500Lv2- and it had bad firmware flashed onto it. As usual, I broke out the PL2303 USB->TTL adapter, and was pleasantly surprised to find actual headers populated. Nice.

Not so nice is just how neutered the CFE build is. Even for NetGear, this is pretty bad. I performed a nvram erase, set a new board id, and reset it.. and lo and behold, there’s the missing NIC!

CFE for WNR3500Lv2 version: v1.0.9
Build Date: Fri May 6 11:54:17 CST 2011
Init Arena
Init Devs.
Boot partition size = 262144(0×40000)
NFLASH Boot partition size = 524288(0×80000)
et0: Broadcom BCM47XX 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet Controller 5.60.136
CPU type 0×19749: 480MHz
Tot mem: 131072 KBytes

Device eth0: hwaddr 10-DA-43-90-1C-E2, ipaddr 192.168.1.1, mask 255.255.255.0 gateway not set, nameserver not set
Startup canceled
CFE> ^C

Now that it has network functionality, I TFTP’d over the most recent firmware offered by NetGear, fed it a DD-WRT CHK enabled binary, then upgraded from there.